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Tag Archives: foreign policy

A coherent and (mostly) strategic explanation for war in Eastern Europe emerges?

Yesterday Russia moved to consolidate its control over eastern separatist regions of Ukraine. People bickered over whether this constituted an invasion, at which point Noah Smith won Twitter for the day: If it’s not from the Invasion region of southern France, then it’s not an invasion, it’s just a sparkling annexation — Noah Smith 🌐+🧦=🐇 (@Noahpinion) February 22, 2022 I’m only medium-good at tweets, and I don’t have much experience at all with Russia or Ukraine. But what I can do is parse...

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When we focus on Russian aggression and motives, are we asking the wrong questions?

Here’s a thought experiment I think it’s useful to perform. Start by assuming that Ukrainians and NATO could make invasion painful for Russia, but that Russia has the military forces to overwhelm Ukraine, the foreign reserves to survive sanctions, and the resolve to invade despite these costs and risks, should Putin not get what he wants. If you take these assumptions as true, then I think you’re forced to conclude that there will be peace if Ukraine and NATO more or less capitulates, and...

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The most worrisome thing I’ve read on Russia

A few weeks ago I explained why I thought a Russian invasion of Ukraine was unlikely. Last week I said rumors of another American civil war are exaggerated. That’s when my colleague Konstantin Sonin tweeted something unexpected, connecting the two: My @HarrisPolicy colleague @cblatts has an excellent piece on prospects of a new civil war in the U.S. I wish Kremlin had read this some time ago – you wouldn’t believe to what extent they rely on the idea that the U.S. is on the brink of a civil...

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The invention of sanctions

The Biden administration is relying on the promise of harsh economic penalties to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine. That’s just one of the instances where it’s wielding those tools. When were modern economic sanctions invented? In the aftermath of World War I, is one answer. Yesterday Adam Tooze reviewed a new history of this tool, The Economic Weapon, by Nicholas Mulder. Fighting was ruinous. But here was a multinational instrument, still painful to wield, but better than most of the...

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The most useful things on Russia-Ukraine I’ve read

Russia is a strategic petrostate in a double sense. It is too big a part of global energy markets to permit Iran-style sanctions against Russian energy sales. Russia accounts for about 40 percent of Europe’s gas imports. Comprehensive sanctions would be too destabilizing to global energy markets and that would blow back on the United States in a significant way. China could not stand by and allow it to happen. Furthermore, Moscow, unlike some major oil and gas exporters, has proven capable...

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War in Ukraine seems unlikely but, for the US and Europe, peace will taste bitter

If more U.S.-Russia talks are to happen, what should be on the table? Thomas Graham and Rajan Menon, writing in Politico Magazine, attempt to thread the needle of Russia’s Ukraine demands by considering a moratorium on the country’s future NATO membership amid a larger security compromise. “Now is the time to think big and imagine a new, more durable order, one that can encompass Russia,” they write. Others go further, with Anatol Lieven, writing in the Quincy Institute for Responsible...

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Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order — John J. Mearsheimer

AbstractThe liberal international order, erected after the Cold War, was crumbling by 2019. It was flawed from the start and thus destined to fail. The spread of liberal democracy around the globe—essential for building that order—faced strong resistance because of nationalism, which emphasizes self-determination. Some targeted states also resisted U.S. efforts to promote liberal democracy for security-related reasons. Additionally, problems arose because a liberal order calls for states to...

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Fareed Zakaria Woke Up? — Andrei Martyanov

Blowing a lead.Reminiscence of the FutureFareed Zakaria Woke Up? Andrei MartyanovSee alsoCheckpoint AsiaTrump Has Lost All Leverage With Iran Marko Marjanović Also at CATrump Remembers He’s the President, Tells Bolton, Pompeo to Dial It Back on Iran Erin Banco China’s State Media Tells Us It Picked the ‘Wrong Rival at the Wrong Time’ Teddy Ng

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IPA’s weekly links

Guest Post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action Hope everybody’s off to a great new year, and good luck to all the job candidates interviewing at ASSA. Also, remember from the last links that Ben Casselman, who’s been co-reporting on sexual harassment in economics for the New York Times, is there and happy to meet confidentially with anybody who wants to tell him about their experience. If you’re not on twitter, feel free to email me and I’ll put you in touch with him...

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IPA’s weekly links

Guest post by Jeff Mosenkis of Innovations for Poverty Action. David McKenzie’s great (as always) links has a nice short summary on new thinking from big names in Universal Basic Income making the argument that the effort to target cash to the neediest and the precision required aren’t worth it, and it should be universal.Seven current and former graduate students at Dartmouth’s prestigious psychology and neuroscience department have filed a class action suit against the College. They allege...

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